St. Paul man's lawsuit alleging excessive force to be settled for $45,000

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2014 - 10:05 PM

A St. Paul man will receive $45,000 from the city to settle a lawsuit claiming that police officers responding to his call for help unnecessarily assaulted him, performed an illegal search of his apartment and left him to suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The settlement agreement, expected to be approved Wednesday by the City Council, releases the city from further claims and is not an admission of liability on the city’s part. The plaintiff, Stephen Wolfe, agreed not to comment.

According to the complaint, Wolfe had guests at his downtown apartment early on the morning of Oct. 9, 2011, when he heard pounding on his door. He asked someone to call police and opened the door while cradling a shotgun.

The man banging on the door then called 911. He said that his girlfriend had been pulled into Wolfe’s apartment and that Wolfe had confronted him with a gun when he opened the door.

Officer William Everett handcuffed him and several others in the apartment, then searched the place with another officer and found the shotgun. They didn’t have a warrant, Wolfe claimed.

Wolfe said he asked one of the officers why they weren’t detaining the man who had pounded on his door. The complaint says the officer responded by grabbing his head and slamming it into the wall, knocking out Wolfe.

While unconscious, Wolfe alleged, the officers repeatedly picked him up by the handcuffs and dropped him.

The city responded by denying Wolfe’s allegations of excessive force. It admitted the officers didn’t have a search warrant, but said they were justified in looking for the gun.

Wolfe originally sought compensatory damages of more than $500,000. The suit was first filed in Ramsey County District Court and then moved to U.S. District Court.

 

Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035

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